Sunday, March 09, 2008

Optimism makes a comeback, with vegetables and chickens dancing and prancing in my head

After my small freak-out over the weather and feeling all cooped up, I'm back to my usual optimistic self.

First off, I realized today that more snow means more moisture in the ground and more moisture means healthier plants. I definitely like that - I can cope. Additionally, the more I thought about being freezing cold with no snow cover, just the ugly bare ground - the more I remembered that I'd rather have snow. Even if it is March. [Being from the Pacific Northwest makes Midwest winters even more unbearable. Crocuses are already up in Western Washington!! I'm so jealous.]

Secondly, Squeeze and I ordered all of our seeds and starter plants (peppers & tomatoes) from Seed Savers Exchange this afternoon. Eek! I can hardly wait. Just thinking of names like Blacktail Mountain Watermelon, Hidatsa Shield Figure Bean, Grandma Einck's Dill, Five Color Silverbeet Swiss Chard make me smile - not to mention the tomato called Amish Paste, or actually getting to eat all this good stuff! It is so exciting, and has revived my enthusiasm for moving out to what seems like the Middle of Nowhere from our cozy - albeit, comparatively cramped - city life.

Thirdly, double-eek! we have decided on the chickens we want.
  • Buff Orpington
  • Ameraucana
  • Silver Laced Wyandotte
  • Black Australorp
  • White Leghorn
  • Barred Rock

I know...it is so many. I think we're going to buy 25-30 of them in a straight-run [definition: Straight run. Newly hatched chicks that have not been sexed; also called "unsexed" or "as hatched." - we just learned what this meant this weekend] and butcher all the males except the one we like best. That way, we'll have birds for stock in addition to a [hopefully] mid-sized flock of laying hens.

We originally thought that we would get all females, but I've read that the roosters take care of the hens - looking out for predators, keeping everyone safe and together (I actually think I read that in Animal, Vegetable, Miracle). I just ordered 3-4 chicken husbandry books from the library as well - without a doubt, we need to know as much as possible.

The Ameraucanas lay green, blue, or pink eggs. Everyone else lays light-to-dark brown eggs, except for the Leghorn, whose eggs are white. That was was Squeeze's pick. I want 'em as wild as I can get 'em: and for me, that means colorful! The very thought of pretty eggs thrills me.

I'm also extremely smitten by the beauty of the Silver Lace Wyandotte. See?

Silver Laced Wyandotte

6 comments:

Eric said...

Why do you get your seeds from that particular place?
~Em

a. borealis said...

Emily! Hi. We got all of our plants from SSE because they sell heirloom varieties. Most seed companies sell hybrids that are unable to reproduce themselves (the seeds go haywire if you try and plant them the next year - you won't get the same thing and more than likely, will taste terrible), so you are stuck buying seeds every year. Doesn't that sound frightful in the event of some kind of societal breakdown?

Also, heirloom varieties are reputed to be more robust and flavorful.

ms said...

the chickens are beautiful!! i am so excited for you guys - and fighting a twinge of jealousy. the garden is going to be amazing!!! do you have greenhouse space to start the seeds?

a. borealis said...

We're going to start the seeds in our sunroom; it has an excellent southern exposure. Hopefully, they'll come this week and we'll get them started this weekend! It is going to be so great. =) =) =)

meggan said...

what gorgeous eggs you will have!

Sandy said...

jealous. jealous. jealous. re: chickens. I ordered seeds from Abundant Life, my leeks are already "cooking" and today I need to plant broc & broc rabe! fun. spring is coming!